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Major stem cell breakthrough allows quick and easy creation

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A radical and remarkably easy way to make cells that can grow into any tissue in the body has been developed by scientists in Japan.

The feat has been hailed as a major discovery by researchers familiar with the work, and if it can be repeated in human tissue, could lead to cheap and simple procedures to make patient-matched stem cells that could repair damaged or diseased organs. In a series of elegant experiments, researchers showed that cells plucked from animals could be turned into all-powerful master cells simply by immersing them in a mildly acidic solution for half an hour.

...

Haruko Obokata at the Riken lab in Kobe, Japan, told the Guardian that her team had created several dozen mice that had tissues grown from the cells, and had followed their health for one to two years. "So far they appear to be healthy, fertile, and normal," she said. The finding has stunned many researchers because previous attempts to make stem cells have been fraught with difficulties. One route is cloning, which is controversial because it involves the creation and destruction of embryos. A more recent method, called induced pluripotency, uses genetic manipulation to convert adult cells into a more flexible, immature state.

...

His enthusiasm was shared by Chris Mason, a stem-cell expert at University College London. "If it works in man, this could be the game changer that ultimately makes a wide range of cell therapies available using the patient's own cells as starting material," he said. Obokata started work on the procedure five years ago while working at Harvard Medical School. The idea came to her after noticing by chance that cells that had been squeezed through a thin tube shrank to the size of stem cells. She went on to look more closely at what effects different kinds of stress – from heat, starvation and acidic conditions – had on cells.

After years of perfecting the experiments, Obokata showed that she could convert white blood cells taken from newborn mice into cells that behaved very much like stem cells. She went on to do the same with brain, skin, muscle, bone marrow, lung and liver cells. "It was very surprising to see that such a remarkable transformation could be triggered simply by stimuli from the outside," she said.

...

Obokata calls the procedure "stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency", and the resulting cells Stap cells. Immersion in a mild acidic solution, with a pH of 5.5, worked best. Squeezing cells had a similar effect but was less efficient.

...

Austin Smith, director of the Wellcome Trust/MRC stem cell institute at Cambridge University, said the work looked sound, but that it was unclear whether it would work in humans and with adult tissue, such as skin cells taken from a patient. If scientists can get the procedure to work in people, it could quickly overcome regulatory hurdles that have held up the development of therapies based on induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Therapies based on iPS cells face scrutiny because genes are added to the cells to convert them into stem cells. These genes probably need to be removed before they can be used safely in patients.

...

Even if the procedure can be perfected in humans, Smith said major hurdles remain before patients could be treated with Stap cells. Any tissues grown from Stap cells would need to be proved safe in the body. Scientists would have to show they cannot turn into tumours, and demonstrate that they work with patients' healthy tissues without causing problems.

Original article: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jan/29/make-stem-cells-major-discovery-acid-technique

I only understand a few of these words, but I'm told by a friend who knows about it this is pretty amazing stuff and has radical implications for the field if applicable to humans, of the 'regrowing limbs' kind. I thought I might share it on GAF in the hope someone who knows about biology can elucidate further. Science!
 

ЯAW

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Jul 20, 2013
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It still on the mice testing level so I guess we are still far away seeing this getting used in real practice. I'm also bit vary when ever I see science breakthroughs in field of medicine. Too often they amount to nothing when the study is replicated by others. Nonetheless this sounds awesome.

This has been good day for science news, first we have Observation of Dirac monopoles in a synthetic magnetic field and now this.
 

SystemShock2

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"could lead to cheap and simple procedures to make patient-matched stem cells that could repair damaged or diseased organs"

We're all gonna die waiting in line for our immortality.
 

Dark Octave

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Jul 2, 2007
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www.adversarygames.com
If snake venom antidote costs $100k, this is something to get excited about but not hopeful that any of us will be able to use in our lifetimes. Basically whatever cancer treatment costs, this will be at least double. Hopefully our grandchildren will be able to benifit from this though.

And I'm obviously speculating.
 

Damaniel

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Mar 6, 2013
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Seems like it would be easy enough to test the viability of this method in human cells. In fact, I would think that they could have at least tried the procedure on human cells as part of their paper, just to see if viable stem cells were produced.

If anything, at least confirming whether this works with human cells should be trivial, and if it does, it sure beats the other methods we've had to generate them in the past. (One less thing for the evangelicals to whine about, too.)
 
Oct 2, 2011
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Seems like it would be easy enough to test the viability of this method in human cells. In fact, I would think that they could have at least tried the procedure on human cells as part of their paper, just to see if viable stem cells were produced.

If anything, at least confirming whether this works with human cells should be trivial, and if it does, it sure beats the other methods we've had to generate them in the past. (One less thing for the evangelicals to whine about, too.)

Don't they need approval to test anything on Humans or is that just medication?
 

sharkmuncher

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Very interesting work with the potential to be very important down the line. As for therapeutic benefit,iPS cells have been around for a while, but creating a stem cell is one thing, getting it to differentiated into another cell type, let alone entire organs is a whole different mess.

Also,
Junior Asparagus said:
Here's another one about it: http://www.boston.com/news/science/b...dBQK/blog.html

Interesting how the first article focuses on Obokata, who isn't the lead author in the studies.

Obokata is the first author, so most likely did the majority of the bench work and the writing. It's pretty much her project I'm certain.

Nature said:
Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency

Haruko Obokata, Teruhiko Wakayama, Yoshiki Sasai, Koji Kojima, Martin P. Vacanti, Hitoshi Niwa, Masayuki Yamato & Charles A. Vacanti


Affiliations
Contributions
Corresponding authors
 

sharkmuncher

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So just read the paper, very interesting. In summary:

They collected cells that had a genetic signature of blood stem cells (CD45+/Oct4-), meaning these cells had already undergone some differentiation and were "committed" to only generating more of themselves or blood cells. By treating these cells with a low pH culture condition, they were able to revert these cells to ones that were CD45-/Oct4+, a signature characteristic of Embryonic Stem (ES) Cells. Further analysis of this generated population showed multiple other markers of ES cells (Oct4, SSEA1, Nanog, E-cadherin - proteins)(Oct4, Nanog, Sox2, Ecat1, Esg, Dax1, Rex1 - Genes). They were also able to create these cells using CD45+/CD90+ and CD45+/CD19+ cells, which are even further differentiated.

There were a few markers that still differed from ES cells (they were Klf+ and claudin7- and ZO-1-) and they did not grow well in culture.

They were able to show that through forced differentation assays that cells from all three germ lines were generated. The big part was they were able to inject these cells into mouse embryos, creating viable chimeras which were then able to give birth to offspring derived completely from these STAP cells, which is a pretty big deal as far as proving something is a stem cell goes.

I'll be curious to see where this goes, but like I said before, we have been able to create stem cells from other tissue for a while, its just really hard to coax them into something useful, or not giving the recipient cancer.
 

SRG01

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Jan 29, 2007
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So just read the paper, very interesting. In summary:

They collected cells that had a genetic signature of blood stem cells (CD45+/Oct4-), meaning these cells had already undergone some differentiation and were "committed" to only generating more of themselves or blood cells. By treating these cells with a low pH culture condition, they were able to revert these cells to ones that were CD45-/Oct4+, a signature characteristic of Embryonic Stem (ES) Cells. Further analysis of this generated population showed multiple other markers of ES cells (Oct4, SSEA1, Nanog, E-cadherin - proteins)(Oct4, Nanog, Sox2, Ecat1, Esg, Dax1, Rex1 - Genes). They were also able to create these cells using CD45+/CD90+ and CD45+/CD19+ cells, which are even further differentiated.

There were a few markers that still differed from ES cells (they were Klf+ and claudin7- and ZO-1-) and they did not grow well in culture.

They were able to show that through forced differentation assays that cells from all three germ lines were generated. The big part was they were able to inject these cells into mouse embryos, creating viable chimeras which were then able to give birth to offspring derived completely from these STAP cells, which is a pretty big deal as far as proving something is a stem cell goes.

I'll be curious to see where this goes, but like I said before, we have been able to create stem cells from other tissue for a while, its just really hard to coax them into something useful, or not giving the recipient cancer.

Yes, exactly. The main differentiator with this method compared to others is that it's ridiculously easy to do. I'd like to see if any other labs can replicate these results too.
 

sinxtanx

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Dec 5, 2008
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So just read the paper, very interesting. In summary:

They collected cells that had a genetic signature of blood stem cells (CD45+/Oct4-), meaning these cells had already undergone some differentiation and were "committed" to only generating more of themselves or blood cells. By treating these cells with a low pH culture condition, they were able to revert these cells to ones that were CD45-/Oct4+, a signature characteristic of Embryonic Stem (ES) Cells. Further analysis of this generated population showed multiple other markers of ES cells (Oct4, SSEA1, Nanog, E-cadherin - proteins)(Oct4, Nanog, Sox2, Ecat1, Esg, Dax1, Rex1 - Genes). They were also able to create these cells using CD45+/CD90+ and CD45+/CD19+ cells, which are even further differentiated.

There were a few markers that still differed from ES cells (they were Klf+ and claudin7- and ZO-1-) and they did not grow well in culture.

They were able to show that through forced differentation assays that cells from all three germ lines were generated. The big part was they were able to inject these cells into mouse embryos, creating viable chimeras which were then able to give birth to offspring derived completely from these STAP cells, which is a pretty big deal as far as proving something is a stem cell goes.

I'll be curious to see where this goes, but like I said before, we have been able to create stem cells from other tissue for a while, its just really hard to coax them into something useful, or not giving the recipient cancer.

I understand completely
 

Hari Seldon

Member
Dec 5, 2008
16,661
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So they dropped the stem cells in some OJ and boom they are the super stem cells? I approve of this kind of mad science.
 
Oct 2, 2011
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So just read the paper, very interesting. In summary:

They collected cells that had a genetic signature of blood stem cells (CD45+/Oct4-), meaning these cells had already undergone some differentiation and were "committed" to only generating more of themselves or blood cells. By treating these cells with a low pH culture condition, they were able to revert these cells to ones that were CD45-/Oct4+, a signature characteristic of Embryonic Stem (ES) Cells. Further analysis of this generated population showed multiple other markers of ES cells (Oct4, SSEA1, Nanog, E-cadherin - proteins)(Oct4, Nanog, Sox2, Ecat1, Esg, Dax1, Rex1 - Genes). They were also able to create these cells using CD45+/CD90+ and CD45+/CD19+ cells, which are even further differentiated.

There were a few markers that still differed from ES cells (they were Klf+ and claudin7- and ZO-1-) and they did not grow well in culture.

They were able to show that through forced differentation assays that cells from all three germ lines were generated. The big part was they were able to inject these cells into mouse embryos, creating viable chimeras which were then able to give birth to offspring derived completely from these STAP cells, which is a pretty big deal as far as proving something is a stem cell goes.

I'll be curious to see where this goes, but like I said before, we have been able to create stem cells from other tissue for a while, its just really hard to coax them into something useful, or not giving the recipient cancer.

That's pretty cool, hopefully the mice turn out ok. Giving someone cancer while trying to cure some other decease would be awful it's a shame these types of findings take so long to test out before they know if it's viable for human treatment.
 

Musician

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Apr 18, 2012
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What makes you think that immortality won't happen in our generation?

20 more years until eternal life serum. Scientist claims "I can't believe my pants!"

Just give us 10 more years and we'll make you live forever, Scientist asks!

One more year and you'll be playing football with your buddies... forever, Scientist argues!

Next month immortality serum will be released into the atmosphere! Get your tongues out, cause mother nature is about to blow one life-giving load!

About to write you will? Don't bother! 10 more days until immortality covers your face!!

Tomorrow, the end of Death! If you die today, you just might have the worst luck in history!

*Looks up from newspaper*

Oh for...

*beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep*
 

Otakumegane

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Jul 27, 2013
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Sooo.....we can make legit tentacle monsters soon?

I mean you know with the whole regrowing limbs and maybe transplanting the extra ones.
 

Aquamarine

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May 24, 2012
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780
I want a clone of myself made completely out of stem cells that I could download my consciousness into when I get old.

Immortality would be AWESOME.
 

Zornica

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Mar 20, 2011
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It doesn't sound like a breakthrough yet, more like a milestone.

If snake venom antidote costs $100k, this is something to get excited about but not hopeful that any of us will be able to use in our lifetimes. Basically whatever cancer treatment costs, this will be at least double. Hopefully our grandchildren will be able to benifit from this though.

And I'm obviously speculating.

depends...
if you spend your lifetime in not-usa you might benefit sooner.
for example: you can buy snake venom antidote for 99€-249€ per vial in europe
 

Spring-Loaded

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Apr 16, 2012
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If snake venom antidote costs $100k, this is something to get excited about but not hopeful that any of us will be able to use in our lifetimes. Basically whatever cancer treatment costs, this will be at least double. Hopefully our grandchildren will be able to benifit from this though.

And I'm obviously speculating.

I'll be visiting Mexico frequently whenever I go organ shopping.
 

mattacular

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Dec 16, 2013
35
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Scientists would have to show they cannot turn into tumours
From my limited understanding I assume this is because they are in essence forcing the mature differentiated cells to undergo metaplasia allowing them to revert back to pluripotent stem cells with the capacity to differentiate into healthy cardiac cells etc. I guess it would be difficult to ensure that genetic damage hadn't occurred in the cells they had used. Nevertheless promising stuff hope it isn't too long before some of these treatments become viable alternatives to the irony of waiting for someone to die so someone else can live.
 

sharkmuncher

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Actually, part of the paper was showing that these cells could form terataomas when implanted into mice. This is a common way to show pluripotency of cells. They did, mice got cancer, good news for the researchers since it was what they were trying to show, bad news for the mice.
 

Lesath

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Jan 27, 2008
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I understand completely

They took some cells and dipped them in acid. The resulting cells fit the profile of a stem cell (for the most part) as far as what genes they expressed, so they needed to more concretely test their ability to actually behave like stem cells.

Cells commit to one of three different lineages of irreversible fates during early development (i.e. a stem cell fated to become a neuron cannot become a cardiac cell) so a basic test for stem cell-ness is to see if your cells could form cell types from all three lineages. Which they did.

Another test for pluripotency (the capability of a cell to form all the cells in an adult organism) in mice at least, is to essentially stick your possible stem cells into an embryo. If a chimeric mouse results (one mouse from the original and introduced cell populations), then they can form at least part of a full organism, and if the cells that result can form germ (sperm n eggs) cells and sucessfully produce offspring then you can infer that they can form the cells of a full organism. If you can do that, you have a very strong case for having made pluripotent stem cells.
 

Loofy

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Jan 18, 2012
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That scientist sucking up all those human embryos is probably kicking himself right now.
 
Jul 25, 2007
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Obokata is the first author, so most likely did the majority of the bench work and the writing. It's pretty much her project I'm certain.

Oh hmm. Even the first article says Vacanti is the lead author.

"The generation of these cells is essentially Mother Nature's way of responding to injury," the lead author of the studies, Charles Vacanti at Havard Medical School, told Nature.
 

SneakyStephan

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Jan 23, 2011
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If snake venom antidote costs $100k, this is something to get excited about but not hopeful that any of us will be able to use in our lifetimes. Basically whatever cancer treatment costs, this will be at least double. Hopefully our grandchildren will be able to benifit from this though.

And I'm obviously speculating.

Not everyone lives in a third world country where antivenom costs 100k
 

Fun Factor

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Jun 18, 2006
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Why haven't they started researching on humans?
I mean pick the worst criminal scumbags, send them to a country that will do these experiments & voila a cure is found.
 

Iceman

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Why haven't they started researching on humans?

Because the FDA has said it won't approve human trials on stem cells (fetal, ips, or acid, presumably) unless it can be proven that they will not create tumors or...

I mean pick the worst criminal scumbags, send them to a country that will do these experiments & voila a cure is found.

Ah, I see where you're going.
 
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